How to Increase Restaurant Customer Loyalty

How can you gain more business by increasing the loyalty of your existing customer base?

Acquiring new customers could cost anywhere between five to thirty times more than retaining an existing one. In contrast, increasing customer retention rates by only five percent can increase profits by more than thirty percent. Loyal and repeat customers provide repeat business, they are often word of mouth brand ambassadors.

Deliver a great customer service

You could invest a lot of money in advertising and people might still visit your restaurant only once, never to return again.

To make matters worse, these customers will tell their friends about a bad experience. Other people in the community will hear about a poor service experience, while most customers will never do business with a company after one negative incident. This can be prevented by exceeding customer expectations. Before people visit your restaurant, they’ll most likely have formed expectations based on reviews or the information on your website.

Seemingly simple things like treating customers with respect and calling them by their names and taking notes of their preferences can make all the difference in the long run.

Deliver a consistent experience to increase satisfaction will build trust and boost loyalty. Treat first time visitors to an excellent dining experience and then consistently deliver that same experience over and over again each time they return.

Remember to value your employees, as they are one of your most valuable assets. When employees are poorly treated or undervalued, it shows in the services they provide. Happy employees are more productive employees and will put in the extra effort when serving customers.

Get involved in your community

Nothing builds customer loyalty faster than promoting shared views on social issues. Seeing your restaurant listed as a sponsor for a sustainable event. Find local projects you can get involved with to demonstrate your restaurant’s commitment to important causes in the community.

Consumers love businesses that care about their communities. Participating in local projects can help you build a stronger local network and customer base.

Give back to the community by supporting local charities or by buying locally. Consumers find local foods to be fresher and they appreciate that it supports the local economy. By sourcing ingredients from the region, you can build stronger relationships with farmers while endearing yourself to your customers.

Connect with your customers on social media

As you participate in local events, you’ll most likely run into your regular customers. Make them feel like part of the family by sending them a shout out or retweeting or sharing their own photos.

Social media is perhaps the best way to highlight your community efforts and interact with your customer base. By sharing user generated content and responding to comments, you can help build an engaged following.

Use social listening to identify your most active and vocal customers. Then find unique ways to reward these social persons of interest, such as inviting them to special events.

Good comments and reviews are easy to deal with. But even negative posts can provide opportunities to demonstrate diplomacy and how much you value feedback.

Develop a good loyalty program

Create a program that stands out from the rest. An effective loyalty program can deepen customer engagement and drive more sales for your restaurant.

Consumers are sceptic of generic loyalty programs that are interchangeable with your competitors’ programs. Be sure to build a program that stands out and doesn’t just give the customer points every time they purchase for a discount at a later date, because everyone does that. Try offering different tiers for different purchases or create special offers for kids.

Your loyalty program shouldn’t be too time consuming for the customer. One of the top reasons people quit loyalty programs is that rewards take too long to accrue.

In addition to a regular points program, consider members only invites to special dinners or charity events.

Use technology to make provide a more personal experience

If you’re serious about boosting restaurant customer loyalty, you should find ways to customize the dining experience.

Know what your customers like and what they don’t. Invest in a customer relationship management system that allows you to identify your regular customers and save their preferences. This will allow you to welcome guests more warmly, as well as tailor your email marketing messages to their specific needs.

Adaptive digital menus improve order accuracy, speed up service and make it easier to upsell items to customers. You can easily create your own digital menus for your restaurant using Appily App Builder

Next Steps:

Restaurant customer loyalty is vital for any business. By delivering a good consistent service, you’ll increase the chances that customers will turn into repeat customers and spread the word. But don’t stop at great service. Get involved in the community, engage on social media and find creative ways to reward your regular customers.

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